Controlling Featured Snippets, Seeing Your “Real” Rank and FAQ Schema Pain

If you’re still recovering from Google’s shock switch yesterday, when it was revealed that featured snippet URLs were being removed from the main results, I have a few more updates and also some tips for you.

Control Your Snippets

If, for some reason, you’d rather have your “old” position in the main results (ie #1 through #10) and want to disable featured snippets for your site or specific URLs of your site you can do that. Simply add the following code between the and tags on the relevant pages (or site-wide):

<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet" />

You can also change the maximum length of the snippet that you have as follows:

<meta name="googlebot" content="max-snippet:50" />

That would set the maximum number of characters that any featured snippet based on that page could have at 50 characters.

Personally, I wouldn’t use any of the above as the featured snippet is still going to get you more clicks than any other position.

FAQ Rich Results Suffer Too

If you’ve marked up your content with FAQ schema and as a result were getting rich FAQ results for that page in Google, then Google will also no longer show you in the main results (ie #1 through #10).

This is because the FAQ rich result is more or less like a featured snippet anyway. The obvious way to stop this from occurring (if you want that for some reason) is to remove the FAQ schema and ensure the page is recrawled.

See Where You Rank Without Featured Snippet

Now, if you have a featured snippet, you won’t be able to see where that URL would otherwise rank “normally” and where it would sit if featured snippets were turned off.

However, you can just add “&num=9” to the end of the URL in your browser when you are Googling the relevant term and you’ll see where your page would sit.

Right Sidebar Snippet Moving Back

Yesterday we also reported that if you had the right sidebar on desktop then you would keep that position (in the right sidebar) and be removed from the main column of results. Obviously this was not good as the CTR is going to be much less way out there on the right.

Today, Danny Sullivan confirmed that Google will be moving that right sidebar panel over to become a “normal” featured snippet. So at least you’ll be back in the main column and getting clicks again!

Categorized as SEO

By Sean Robinson

My name is Sean Robinson and I’ve been building and running my own blogs and websites since 2004, and have been doing it full-time for over a decade. If you'd like to know more about my story, please click here.


  1. That’s a really interesting change. I’ll have to do some testing myself to see whether featured snippets are even worth it any more. Actually, it seems to be fairer to other websites that don’t implement schema tags and such. Rankings should be based on content value and nothing else. Good article!

    1. I just did a little experiment removing rich mark up from some of my articles, to go back to “normal” results and my traffic dipped. So I definitely recommend marking up as much content as you can!

  2. Do you have any advice for getting more articles into the featured snippet search result? I’ve added the schema markup, made sure it’s valid and wrote what I believe to be good content using valuable keywords. Do I just have to hope Google picks my website or can I do more?

  3. Do you know how much extra traffic you can get being in the featured snippet? I have the markup for it but I’m not sure if any URL is featured yet. It would be nice to see what pages (if any) are featured. I looked around in Webmaster Console and don’t see anything. Perhaps there is an alternative way to track it?

  4. Any suggestions on how to properly mark up my content? I’m wondering if it’s wise to just install a plugin that will do it all automatically or whether I should manually add it to each page. I don’t know if Google punishes you for incorrect markup or trying to use too much of it. Advice please!

    1. Yoast made some recent changes to do some of it automatically. I do it manually though and it’s beyond the scope of this comment. TBH I would search for some guides and try to do it yourself. Google has a mark up checker so you can see if you got it correct. Maybe this is a guide for me to do in the future 🙂

  5. Only once have I ever seen my website in the right sidebar on Google and it didn’t last very long. The extra traffic you get is very notable. It’d be nice to be featured more… I write good content and use all the technologies available to me. It seems like a game of pot luck sometimes when it comes to ranking well.

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